The hottest part of the Utah summer is fast approaching, and for those dealing with an older or worn-down air conditioning unit, getting it replaced before the dead of summer hits is very important. And if you’re in a position where you’re considering upgrading or replacing your AC unit, one of several important facets here involves having a proper understanding of the new unit you purchase and its primary features.
At 24 Hour Rooter Connectionz, we’re here to offer numerous air conditioner services and other HVAC solutions in Utah, in addition to our high-quality drain cleaning and plumbing services. We’ve assisted many clients with not only high-quality air conditioner repair and related solutions, but also with understanding the important components and features of an AC unit if you’re considering replacing yours. Here are several of the important factors to keep in mind while you’re learning more about outdoor air conditioner units.
Models, Stages and Speeds
First and foremost, beware that there are a number of different air conditioner models out there, with varying features and qualities. Generally speaking, there are three model types you’ll be considering for a new AC unit:
- Single-stage: The most basic model, one that includes simple controls that only allow for simple on or off switching by the user. These are usually found in older homes and are less common for new units, though they do still exist.
- Two-stage: This model comes with multiple cooling features, usually a high- and low-stage option in most cases. This allows for improved comfort levels plus less strain on the AC unit itself over the years.
- Variable-speed: The very best AC units today, however, are known as variable-speed units. These come with multiple speed or stage options for cooling, allowing the system to toggle between them and maximize both occupant comfort and limited strain to interior components. While these are the most expensive units, they’re also the ones that will provide you the best efficiency and features.
In addition to choosing an ideal unit in terms of model and speed, it’s important to consider cooling capacity as well. This is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units) or SACCs (Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity), the latter of which is newer and only seen on some models. Within BTUs, which are more common, a typical outdoor unit required roughly 20-25 BTUs for each square foot of living space it will be cooling.
While you should also speak to a trustworthy HVAC professional about your specific cooling capacity needs before ordering, this is a simply way to get a general idea of how much capacity you should be targeting. Meeting this capacity threshold is important, but so is ensuring you don’t go too far over it, as an AC unit with too high a capacity will create issues like short-cycling and overuse of energy.
Next up, for any new AC unit you’re considering, you want to keep warranty high in mind. Typically, a manufacturer’s warranty will come with any new AC unit that’s purchased, and these tend to be pretty similar across most manufacturers: They’re usually either one or two years in length, and cover parts and labor for the unit.
Now, one very important additional consideration for any warranty: Your ability to stay within it and not void it. There are several elements that may be required here to maintain a manufacturer’s warranty, from yearly inspections of the unit to certain requirements in terms of air quality or quantity. You will have to be sure the unit is run properly and is not exposed to any premature wear-down risks that might void the warranty.
Another important metric to be aware of when it comes to an AC unit is the SEER rating, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio rating. This number describes how energy-efficient a given unit is, with a higher rating corresponding to a more efficient unit.
Many units with high SEER ratings will not only have efficient features, but also the ability to turn into an energy-saving mode that turns off the fan when the thermostat signals the compressor to turn off (this won’t happen in many standard units). And while you may have rightly guessed that units with higher SEER ratings may cost more, the result is a more efficient system that limits your costs and recoups this higher price quickly.
You’ll also want to think about noise control, especially if you plan to install the unit near your bedroom window or anywhere close to your patio where people spend time. Many modern models today have multi-stage compressors that operate in virtual silence, but older single-stage models we went over above will generally be a bit louder. Even if you’re considering a louder model, though, you can look into an item like a sound blanket that will limit noise during operation without impacting the quality of the machine.
Humidity and Other Comfort Features
Finally, there are many modern AC models that offer humidity control levels, plus help improve home comfort. These options are much better when paired with a variable-speed unit, as humidity control is far easier to attain when the system is operating at lower speeds. In addition, variable-speed units do better at pulling humidity out of the air, which makes your cooling faster and more efficient as well.
Finally, if you have room in your budget, you may consider other comfort features that vary widely based on the models you’re looking into.
For more on the important qualities to consider in an AC unit, or to learn about any of our HVAC, drain cleaning or other plumbing services in Utah, speak to the staff at 24 Hour Rooter Connectionz today.